Archived Story

Defending the title

Published 7:12pm Thursday, October 24, 2013

Class 5A-Region 2 isn’t that accustomed to having back-to-back champions, but Benjamin Russell is 48 minutes away from changing that.
Fittingly enough, the Wildcats could accomplish the feat by taking down Eufaula, the last team to accomplish the region championship repeat.
“It’d be special,” said BRHS football coach Danny Horn. “Considering where we were, for us to win any games is a big deal. But we want to win the region championship every year. Hopefully, we’ve built our program to the point where we’re always competing for it.”
The Wildcats (7-1, 6-0 in region) have utterly dominated region foes this season, outscoring them by a combined 304-53 margin.
With Eufaula looming, Horn said he expects the Tigers to offer the formidable challenge that the Wildcats have needed since losing to Opelika.
“There’s no doubt that Eufaula will be the best team we’ve played since Opelika,” Horn said. “They’re explosive. They’ve got big-play potential at runningback, and they’ve got several receivers that can take it to the house.”
Despite overmatching every single 5A opponent to this point in the season, Horn said he feels the team has approached every game with the proper mindset.
“I’ve been pleased with how we’ve came out in every game this season,” Horn said. “Usually, you always have one game where you lay an egg, but I credit our seniors for making sure that we play well. But we’re at the point now where we can’t afford to have a bad game. We understand the importance of this game, and this is what we’ve worked for all year long – to have a chance to be region champion.”
Last year, BRHS claimed the region title in scintillating fashion, as Bryant Horn found LaBrenikin Johnson for the game-winning score with only eight seconds left to play in 2012’s 28-24 road win over the Tigers.
This year, B. Horn has piloted one of the best offenses in Class 5A.
The Wildcats rank among the class leaders in points per game, and B. Horn has yet to throw an interception this season while accounting for 22 total touchdowns and completing close to 70 percent of his passes.
However, since the Opelika loss, B. Horn and the rest of the first-team offense has gone several weeks without playing more than a half.
Horn expects that trend to change versus Eufaula.
“That’s a concern for us,” Horn said. “You don’t want to risk running up the score or getting your players hurt, but at the same time you want to get your players as much time as you can. I think we should be fresh. We haven’t played four quarters all year long, and  if it comes down to that on Friday, we will be ready.”
All time, BRHS leads the series versus Eufaula 4-1.
The Wildcats and Tigers will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday from the Charles E. Bailey Sportplex.